In the realm of healthcare, the holistic approach of Osteopathy takes centre stage, especially with regard to the Viscera. Renowned for its non-invasive methods, Osteopathy acknowledges the pivotal role organs (viscera) play in health. This article delves into Osteopathy and the treatment of the viscera.
Visceral Health and Function
All viscera (organs) are attached to the walls of the body cavities (thoracic, abdominal and pelvis) and all the organs are innervated by the spinal and cranial nerves. Viscera responds to changes in the spine and changes in the viscera affect the spine because of this innervation. An example of this is the Vagus nerve which is an important cranial nerve that innervates organs in the chest, abdomen and pelvis. The Vagus nerve is involved in digestion, therefore issues with this nerve can affect digestion. Osteopaths assess and treat this nerve regularly.
Changes in the body that results in discomfort or pain as well as restriction impacts the organs and not just the musculoskeletal system. Healthy viscera is motile, this can be compromised for example by illness, trauma, or scar tissue from surgery. Also, posture can affect organ function and motility, for example the effect that a very Kyphotic Thoracic Spine has on the heart and lungs, as well as the compression on the diaphragm and abdominal organs. In these circumstances the inherent motility of the organs is affected and Osteopathic intervention can improve visceral mobility and function as well as spinal movement.
Osteopathy’s Impact on Visceral Health
Osteopathy, rooted in the philosophy of holistic healing, considers the interdependence of body systems. For the viscera, this translates into techniques enhancing motility, increasing blood flow, helping to reduce inflammation and relieve tension. Osteopaths utilise gentle manual therapy techniques to effect the viscera to enhance normal mobility and the inherent motion that is required for normal function. For example if a patient struggles with constipation an Osteopath can work directly on the abdomen to assess and treat the affected areas to improve motility of the colon and reduce constipation.
Assessing Visceral Pain through Osteopathy
Visceral pain can be referred. Understanding referred pain is vital, as visceral pain often manifests in different areas of the body and not in the location of the affected organ. This often leads individuals to misinterpret it as musculoskeletal discomfort. An Osteopath will assess your pain and will get to the root of the source of the pain. If required a referral will be advised.
In essence, Osteopathy can impact visceral health, by seamlessly blending anatomy, physiology, and hands-on techniques, to restore function and motility of the viscera. Osteopathy works alongside other medical specialisms to support and maintain visceral health.